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Tag Archives: simplicity

To Do & Not To Do-list 2014

If there is one new years resolution I’d like to make, it would be this:

In each situation;
To do what is called for
without hesitation

In each situation;
Not to do more
than what is called for

When doing is done;
To abstain from doing
without hesitation

That Unfolding

Someone asked me- “How do you act i everyday life after you’ve experienced the awakened state. How do others react to this“?

The seemingly cleaver reader will (like I would) wait for an answer that indicates a dualistic mind at work.
So let me begin with saying: There is no “me” that can choose to act in a certain way. Neither is there a “me” that have had the experience of “the awakened state”.
Mind games aside, here comes the answer:

It’s not that complicated really. If you are conditioned to be an actor playing a specific part in a specific play, you just play along.
The conditioning of this Me-actor  and this play happened, and continues to happen,  without me knowing it.
I did not choose that to happen. I was not aware of becoming an actor and I didn’t know the play was made up by the workings of human mind.
No one is controlling it. There is no author, no director. It just unfolds according to the given conditions.

The Director or Governing Laws of choise (God, Buddha, Brahman, Laws of the Universe, Randomness, Energy, The Divine Power etc) are themselves part of the play. They arise within the human mind.

They arise within the human mind” should also be added to the list above.
“”They arise within the human mind” should also be added to the list above.”  should also be added to the list above.
And the creating of external forces of creation thus grows ad infinitum.

Adding “And the creating of external forces of creation thus grows ad infinitum” makes the whole thing absurd.
When you realize that whatever your mind comes up with should be added to the list, there is laughter.
The play starts to become playful.

So the play is created within human mind because that is how the mind unfolds, how it works. But human mind is not all there is. Human mind is only part of what unfolds in the totality of ever ongoing creation.
Everything else is “What Is”.

What Is can only be understood by human mind.
But the understanding cannot be complete. Mind can only comprehend what happens on the staged reality created by itself. That is, the minds version of What Is.
Therefore, mind is always dealing with itself, without knowing what it does, without being mindful of itself.

The eye seeing everything but seeing itself.

The answer to the question is simply that I keep acting like before. I know my part and I know the play. It follows the rules of the dualistic mind.
It is about dividing, understanding, predicting, controling and achieving.
We all know the play, don’t we?
The difference now is that I know this is a play. I know my part is based on the basic premises of the play. I know these premises to be an artifact of the human mind. Nothing more, nothing less.
I also know that this knowledge, just like any knowledge the “I” can “have”, is part of the play.
It is in a sense artificial knowledge.

The concequence of this “knowing” is that I can play my part without being caught up in it, as if acting/action was all there is. When circumstances allowes for it, I can take my costume of and watch the play as a spectator. Relaxing in a comfortable seat, amused and amazed.

Just sitting
Just looking
Not acting

Gradually I have come to value this play for what it is. To become a true spectator made me uneasy for a while. I questioned the use of playing along. The acting suddenly seemed like “pretending” to be something I was not. The play seemed unreal.
Thankfully this play-aversion has lost it’s grip. The acting is not for real, nor is it un-real.
It seem like dividing What Is into play vs. reality is just another part of the play.
It seems like – since the human mind is also part of What Is – the undividable, the non-dual, can divide itself while still being whole. 

Not One
Not Two

All of this is of course not true, nor is it not-true.
This is not the way it works, still it works like this.
All of the above has unfolded within the play.
That is all there is.
That unfolding.

The Total Consumption of Something

Exhaustion is not a choice
it is a happening at a certain point
A consequence of other happenings

Exhaustion is the end of effort

Possible only after effort is done
Not small effort, not big effort
But just as much as there was energy
to make the effort possible

Trying to achieve is a choice-like happening
Letting go of effort is not a choice

Letting go is just another form of effort
The “trying to achieve nothing”-effort
which easily turns into
The “not trying to achieve nothing”-effort
which easily turns into
The “letting go of not trying to achieve nothing”-effort
which easily turns into
The “letting go of the letting go of not trying to achieve nothing”-effort

That is The Path

The Path is designed to burn up the energy
driving the desire to become:
Wise Egoless Compassionate Knowing Empty-Minded
Atman One With All The Original Self
Free of desire to become

When all out of fuel
The seeker collapse with the seeking itself
When all out of fuel
No effort is possible
No letting go of effort is possible
The hand can not hold onto anything
Nor can it let go of anything

The concept of desire cannot be dealt with
The concept of aversion cannot be dealt with
The concept of illusion cannot be dealt with
The idea of dealing or not-dealing with anything
cannot be dealt with

When out of fuel there is no way in changing anything
Changing is not an option
and finally change is possible

 

 

The Constant Gardener

Just sitting bores my self stiff
Roshi says “Doing nothing is nice for a change”
My self says “It’s boring and frustrating.
Nothing ever happens. It feels useless”
Just sitting kills my self
We smile

He’s watching my continuus self-icide
I look for distractions, credentials
He gives me nothing
That’s the plan
I suppose…

 If Roshi keeps handing me nothing,
eventually I might get it
Meanwhile my self squirms and moans
Sitting is not boring
It’s scary

 Relentless progress
Letting the tree grow
Just as it stands
Killing the constant gardener

Missing The Point Happens

If you want to learn how to miss points in arguments I recommend this text. It’s an email-debate on trad- advaita vs neo- advaita.

As in any academic dispute there is a lot of “misunderstandings” and “not adressing the critique”. It seems like the more advanced the converstion, the more likely people are to make simple errors in communication. That’s wierd.

So the question is – can you communicate the idea of nondualism in a way that is non-dual without leaving the listener, with it’s dualistic mind, in the middle of nowhere?
The answer is of course “yes but no but yes but no but that’s beside the point”. So as always we’re left with a sense of confusion and wasted time.

I won’t waste your time with a lengthy rambling on this, so here’s a short one:
The brain uses about 90% of it’s capacity on internal affairs and maintenance. That’s why we have the misunderstanding that we only use 10% of our brain power. That’s BS because the brain needs to keep this 90/10 ratio to work properly. The 10% we have for actually communicating with the environment “outside” the brain (rest of our body and everything outside of the physical body) is ideally kept open and ready for action. That is what a zen no-mind is about. That is the state of a flexible mind open for interaction with the world at hand. That is what non-attachment is about, not messing up the flow of interaction between our mind and the environment. A relaxed and alert mind has it’s 10% ready so it can respond directly and efficiently to whatever shows up.

Any practice or non-practice that enhances this readiness is a good practice as far as I’m concerned. Any practice or non-practice that claim part of the 10% is not so good.
It’s not hard to see why almost every instruction or teaching emphazises “letting go” and “non-striving” in order to facilitate progress.
The difference I see between spiritual schools is basically different perspectives on how to communicate this important notion of “relaxing your mind”. Some do it by saying you will not be ready for nirvana in many lifetimes so just keep on practicing with no hope of awakening or liberation. Fine, so you can let go. Mission accomplished. Others say the practice is nothing but a way to let go of your striving and efforts to become enlightened and when you finally give up, the light bulb goes on. Then we have those who say there’s no need for practice at all so you can start your way to liberation by giving up right away.

What all of these seemingly different teachings point to is a way to keep the alotted 10% of our mind open and ready for communication and interaction with our internal and external environment. It’s being decribed as “spontaneous action”, “being integrated with wholeness” or “the end of suffering”.
Bottom line is – if you somehow (by means of any practice as well as no-practice) can avoid having a mind that is like a locked closet full of janitors, then you will be fully functional and able to respond properly whenever reality comes-a-knocking on your sense doors. That’s the state of bliss. On the other hand, if your mind is cluttered with concepts, planning, analysing, memories and interpretations, there will be stress building up because there’s a sens of missing something important i.e. what’s actually happening. So you lose control over the situation at hand which adds to the stress. As stress builds the 10% shrinks and the 90% expands in order to keep track of the mess. You then experience something like a “burn-out” or the feeling of “losing your mind”.

Now, whatever the teaching or non-teaching is made up of, the important thing is communicating in a way that counter this internal stress. Different people may need different messages to get there. Therefore it is perfectly ok to have different styles and approaches to this.

Jeeez, that was NOT a short post and it’s still very vague and…well, a sitting duck as far as misconceptions go.

I’ll go wash my bowl.

Trying To Be Is Not An Option

Everytime you put effort into “trying” to be something, you are already being it. There is no such thing as “trying to be present”, because either you are present or you’re not. If you are present, then what’s the problem. If you are not present, what’s the problem? Precense is Existence and that which exists is always present. It may not be percived by someone or something else, but that doesn’t mean it is non-existent. The tree deep in the forest doesn’t vanish as soon as it isn’t seen or felt by some “other”. If it “is” then it “exists” and so do you. It takes no effort. The deed is already done and there is nothing you can or need to do trying to change that.

A common task on spiritual to-do’s is to “practice the capacity to stay present in the moment”. What a red herring that is! How could you ever be out of the present moment to begin with? The practice suggests that you are in fact floatin in and out of time and space. Sometimes being “here”, sometimes being “elsewhere”. When we say that the mind wanders, where the heck does it wander off to? Does it go to the local pub for a pint of Guinness or what? Isn’t it more likely that your mind always is in it’s right place? The thoughts that arise as a result of your mind doing what minds do, now that’s  a different beast altogether.
We never say that “the current content/thoughts that, without someone controling them, arise in your mind is sometimes in line with what is happening around them, sometimes they’re not“.
Instead we build the misconception that the mind wanders as a concequence of the “minder” being inadequate in controling the mind. So the solution to this propoused problem is generally that the inadequate minder corrects that by doing mind-practice, like meditation.

By this practice we hope to become more “present in the moment” and “mindful”. A lot of things can come out of this. It is not bad or useless in any way. It is what it is and that’s it. The point I’m trying to make is not to discard meditation. Not at all. All I’m saying is that you don’t need to train yourself in any particular way in order to gain anything in particular. It might happen so that you are practicing meditation. Well, then you are being “meditation”, together with the cushion, the incense, the guru and/or whatever makes up the concept of “meditation”. If it changes you in any way, than you are “changing” for a while, together with thoughts, actions, feelings and whatever constitutes “changing”. Meditation isn’t a “thing” that changes “you”. It’s a living process along which a lot of happenings arise and then fades away.

If “trying” is happening somewhere in this process, then so be it. There’s no one to stop it anyway. But beware of the tendency to separate “trying” from “being”.
I never tried to write this. It was written, and I was totally present when it happened. It took no effort at all. It couldn’t possibly have been any other way.

When you meditate, you are always there.
You are what’s happening all the time.
There is no separate part of that “meditation” that can fail.
It is existence doing what existence does.
That’s the Doer and it needs no to-do list.
It Is the to-Do list and everything is on it.

Just let yourself be done…

My Understanding of MU

Who should practice the MU-koan?
No

What’s the purpous with MU?
No

How can you understand it?
No

Seems rather ridiculous, right?
No

Why has it been around for so long?
No

Is every answer a negative?
No

So what’s an affirmative answer?
No

Is the point to bore you with your own questions?
No

Is MU representing The All?
No

What can possibly come out of this?
No

So “No” is all what it is?
No

Dang it, I’ll go back to counting breath!
No

Whaddya mean “No”?
No

Hey, I’m talking to you…
No

This is just my thoughts
No

I’m tired
No

Ah, I see. When…
No

Wait a minute
No

This is so cool
No

I say “No” to everything!
No

I say “No” to every-THING
No

I should stop this, right?
No

But if “No” is all I get..
No

…then I know the rest of this
No

So I should just keep at it?
No

OK, so I’ll quit right here?
No

This if freakin’ useless
No

This gives no insight whatsoever
No

Luckily, there’s only five minutes left ’til the gong
No

Whaddya mean “No”, it is!
No

Shut Up!!!
No

You just won’t cave will you?
No

You’ll always be here?
No

Two minutes left…
No

YES IT IS!
No

?
No

You wait and see
No

I’ll just relax for now
No

Oh yes, I’ll abide in…
No

So it’s impossible for me to relax?
No

Aha, I must let go of trying to relax
No

I gotta let go!
No

You are so wierd
No

When is that bloody gong?
No

GONNNNGGGGGG

Yessss!
No

You can’t fool me to go on with this
No

That’s right, I win
No

________________________________________

Ok, so that’s how I see it. No matter what I come up with, the response is the same. It’s reliable and solid as a rock. It tells me that there’s no “I” to make up all those questions and in the end “I” will understand that and the real I will shut up. It’s also “No” to all of concepts, rationalizing, analysing and effort to “understand”.
I’ll just sit with it and that will arise in me.

-How about that Joshu?

-No

Where is my mind?

According to the Buddhist tradition, the working basis of the path and the energy involved in the path is the mind—one’s own mind, which is working in us all the time

Fundamentally, it is that which can associate with an “other”—with any “something” that is perceived as different from the perceiver. That is the definition of mind

Mind makes the fact of perceiving something else stand for the existence of oneself. That is the mental trick that constitutes mind

It is the fact that the existence of self is questionable that motivates the trick of duality

The method for beginning to relate directly with mind, which was taught by Lord Buddha and which has been in use for the past twenty-five hundred years, is the practice of mindfulness

Mindfulness of body is connected with the earth. It is an openness that has a base, a foundation. Without this particular foundation of mindfulness, the rest of your meditation practice could be very airy-fairy—vacillating back and forth, trying this and trying that

All the above come from Trungpa’s text on The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. All seems very true and workable to me. Again it points me to the importance of basic simplicity, and where to find a solid starting point for my particular path. I find most basic questions in meditation to be jumping the gun a bit. You know most of them I guess;
– Who am I
– Who is asking the question
– Who are you
– Where do you come from
– etc
It’s not that these questions are wrong in any way, they’re brilliant, but all of them which I have read takes the actual existence as a given. If Trungpa’s on target, that “existence” has to be established by experience, as a personal fact, before I can move on. The basic question is therefore – Am I?
What does it take for me to answer Yes? Could mindful meditation of body be seen as a quest for evidence of my actual existence?
That seems redundant at first glance. Of course I exist!
Think again about Trungpa’s words; It is the fact that the existence of self is questionable that motivates the trick of duality. Maybe it isn’t so easy to answer Yes after all. If the massive and persistent perception of duality is indeed a result of our ambivalence towards our own existence, the basic answer would be – I don’t know for sure? So why is the question so hard to answer? My current thinking suggests that the problem is we’re barking up the wrong tree, and trying to find Me in my physical body won’t do it. I’m thinking parts of Me resides somewhere else, and that “somewhere” is seemingly empty. Trick is that whatever there is to find in that empty space exists only in relation to my actual physical form. Furthermore, my actual physical form exists only in relation to other physical forms.
That leaves us with a mind that can only deal with different types of form, my form and the forms outside of it. So being “mindful” would mean to establish the actual existence of these forms by bringing into awareness that there is a transmitter (other form) and also a receiver (my form). If that’s the function of it, then mindfulness “with the mind” can never discover the True Self in it’s totality since parts of the True Self is to be found in-between the various forms recognizable to the mind. Bottom line would be that by using my Mind, I can only connect with half of my True Self. The other part is untouchable so to speak. And it won’t help much to be consciously “aware” of this since “awareness” is also a function of my physical form. Only thing I can be aware of, and that’s a good one, is that finding my True Self, my Whole/Holy Self, lies beyond my minds reach. That in itself could save me some wasted time on mind-gaming. So what Trungpa says to me is;
– mindfulness of body gives you evidence of your physical form – if you experience this, then you will soon realize that everything about “you” is in relation to “other” – if you experience this, you’ll eventually find that your mind cannot deal with anything else than duality – if you experience this, you’ll stop searching for your True Self by sitting on a cushion. What then happens is an open question. Maybe you try finding your Self in others. Maybe you try to find your Self in relation to others or maybe you just go home and do some dishing.

I won’t fool anyone by saying this is “my thinking”. Obviously it is Buddhadharma for Beginners. I just have to write it down to let my playful mind have something to juggle with. It’s all nonsense anyway. It’s all I am. Now it’s all I was.

Now I’m a new thought; if the My True Self is to be found in-between forms, namely My Form and Other Forms, and My True Self is to be regarded as an expression of Oneness, how the heck can Oneness be without the duality of different forms?
Jeeeeze, is this the paradox that leads us to the Ultimate Reality being neither Oneness, nor Duality?
This formal expression of the ongoing Big Bang needs a cup of coffee real bad.
As for Me, I’ll soon be  the joy in having just that.

The Man Machine

I sometimes wonder about the relationship between things we do and thoughts/emotions about things we do. How much energy is consumed by processing “around” our action and how much goes into the action itself? The obvious answer is; way too much is spent around and way too little into. I guess most of us know that, but I’d like more clarity than just “too much” and “too little”. They say that when action is taken without excessive elaboration and post action-analysis a huge amount of energy is suddenly available. I believe that, and getting there will probably be the only way to get a solid answer to my question. First hand experience is like always the best measure.
Sometimes I wish I was a machine that just did one action after another. Someone that just ticked off the boxes in the todo-list slowly but relentlessly, no hurry but no side tracking. No “maybe if”-s, no “I should have”-s, just press play and the music starts playing. Wouldn’t that be great? I guess I’m hesitant after all, but not sure why. I’m thinking one reason could be confusing action with appreciating action. Like, if I become the man machine, by default I will “feel” like a machine. That is, I will feel nothing and be totally senseless. But that must be a big mistake. When I try to remember how spending a lot of energy “around” action have been gratifying and felt good, I cannot pick one instance where it has. I don’t count the excitement that comes with looking forward to something fun or thrilling. That is not to waste energy in this sense because it’s not about “how should I do this” or “wouldn’t it be better if”. It’s just looking forward to doing exactly what will be done. Come to think of it, most of the thought before and after is either worrying, hesitation or regret. To make it less depressing we could call it planning, analysing and evaluating. In that perspective it’s exactly what youre supposed to do. But is it really, and if so, why am I supposed to do that? Is it because I thereby learn how to behave correctly and make the right decisions? Then, who is setting the standards for correct and right, and what will happen if I succeed or fail? Where does all this anxiety come from that makes us wobble and freeze in our tracks?
Insted of being a soulless, mindless “machine”, acting like one seems rather subversive and potentially dangerous. Most of all, it gives me a faint scent of what freedom smells like. All the worrying about doing it “right” might not be mine to have in the first place. Maybe I worry so the other, who- or whatever it is, can sleep good knowing I will watch my step carefully? What would happen to society as we know it if we all turned into Man Machines, relentlessly going about doing things and enjoying it?

What is “All This” ?

I’m not sure what to meditate on. A word that constantly shows up in talks and texts about buddhism is ” s i m p l i c t y “. That’s excellent. I want simplicity. A good place to start would be to simply meditate. Easier said than done if you ask me. There is a vast array of meditations to choose from.

– Count your breathing
– Focus on compassion
– Be mindful of whatever comes to mind
– Acknowledge all bodily sensations
– Follow your breath as it travels through your body
– Plant your focus four fingers below your bellybutton
– And so on

Everyone of them is of course essential according to whoever wrote about it. One thing is for sure. Trying to do all of them will further confusion. If I keep on wobbling I can declare myself the new Confusious. So what technique to start with?
I dunno!
I must choose without knowing.
Shit, that’s hard.
I have some difficulty just counting breaths because it bores me to hell and back. I can make it easier by raising the bar a bit. Instead of counting 1-10 on breathing in (or out), I can make up a trickier sequence like
1-2-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-5…10-9-10-9-8-10-9-8-7… etc
that keeps my mind from wandering since I’ll have to store the “turning number” while keeping count. If I only do simple sequence there’s room for a lot of divergent thought between numbers. And I still can stick to the right order and reverse on 1 and 10. Doing that for 15 minutes is not so hard but I feel it misses the point somewhat. Another chatter-ish variant is to go;
1-I just did one and on the next inhale I’ll do two but not yet because I’m only on one. Yessir, one it is but here it comes. Airs almost out and then comes the next inhale and then it’s two. Here we go-2-Fine, that was two and…
That is also keeping track of breathing. That is also having your head filled with constant chatter.

I’ve done the others as well. For 20 minutes each. Now and then. Is there one exclusively on Patience?

Now you may ask “What is all this”?

“What is all this” is what’s popping up spontaneously if I don’t try to do anything. Not always and not solely, but often enough to make an impression. It’s like a koan of sorts. Maybe it is one of the basic koans?
What is all this?
I kinda like it like that.
What is all this?
When you start a practice and the first thing you do is to something that is not in any beginners guide to that practice, that should be a neon sign saying “Stop It”. Who am I to ignore every advice and instruction given in a tradition more than 4000 years old? How utterly and completely stupid is that? Making up a phony koan for yourself when you can’t even do basic breath counting properly? Take your Ritalin and go play computer games you fool. I can hear Gandalf on the last one; You Fool!

Well then, Q:What Is All This? A:This is the where your CCr-alert says – Go Sit!